Review: Honda Jazz

One of the best used cars in its class

25 May 15 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Very light steering

  • Standard equipment is good

  • Very spacious

Cons

  • Doesn't feel robust on wide roads

  • Doesn't have a diesel option

  • Some competitors are better value

Our expert rating

The Honda Jazz is one of the UK’s most bought super-minis. It may not be sexy but it is a fun, ultra-reliable and zippy car to be behind the wheel of. Honda made a few styling changes for 2011, including new bumpers, a restyled grille and minor adjustments to the headlamps, so a car from this year onwards is your best bet.

Performance

Aside from gently updating the exterior in 2011, the Japanese company’s changes made the Jazz slicker, reducing drag by a fraction. In other words, this model onwards is faster. Indeed, the Jazz feels quicker than its on-paper figures suggest.

Whichever engine you chose, the car is always a delight, especially when driving along narrow urban streets, where Honda’s sprightly character really shows off. The only time the model feels slightly out of its comfort zone is on gusty and wide-open stretches of road, where it feels about as solid as a balloon.

Honda Jazz interior

Ride and handling

Noise levels are particularly low, and, on the whole, the Jazz's interior is a soothing place to be in. It performs well both in town and at motorway speeds. The assisted steering is feather light, meaning it’s an easy car to park, but at speed, it can be disconcerting.

Other than that, the Jazz handles all surfaces very well – soaking up the UK’s pothole-ridden roads particularly well. There is lean on corners, but this isn’t a car designed to be chucked around like a hot-hatch.

Honda Jazz from the side

Interior space

The Honda Jazz is perfect for a young family. It has enough room to hold two young children comfortably in the rear seats, as well as the paraphernalia that goes with your precious bundles of joy. However, passengers over six feet will grapple for a comfortable seating position in the rear.

The front seats are very supportive, but the steering wheel only adjusts for rake, not reach, so this can affect your driving position.

Honda Jazz - open boot

What to know before you buy

It is really hard to find a Jazz with any kind of a major issue. The only thing to be wary of are cosmetic marks because this hatchback will have spent most of its time in busy city or town environments. Parking scratches and dents are therefore quite likely, as are the kerbed alloy wheels and knocked wing mirrors. Therefore, closely check the bodywork and wheels in daylight on a dry day.

Honda Jazz alternatives

Alternative cars

The talented Jazz takes the fight to the likes of Skoda’s Fabia, Volkswagen's Polo, Ford’s Fiesta and the Renault Clio. Excellence and value for money incarnate, the Honda Jazz is a top product and the competition really struggles to keep up.

The brilliant Ford Fiesta is really the only used model for it to worry about. Don’t completely discount the others, though. The Skoda Fabia is good value and well put together. The Renault Clio has French style and always seems modern, but it is poky in the back. The Volkswagen Polo, although a solid and durable machine, struggles to explain its high price tag against this group of secondhand motors.

Overall verdict

The Honda Jazz is indeed a top motor, made by a company with a legendary reputation. Even if its looks won’t “wow” you, it is one of the best used cars in its class. On top of that, the model is built in Britain alongside its popular siblings, the CR-V and the Civic.

Expert review

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall